Arnold Foundation Launches Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation Division

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation today announced the creation of a new Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division that will be headquartered in Washington, DC.  The division will be led by Kathy Stack, a former OMB official who led its Office of Evidence and Innovation, and by Jon Baron, president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy.

According to a foundation statement:

The new LJAF division will focus on two closely related, key areas: evidence-based innovation and evidence-based policy. Ms. Stack, who will serve as Vice President of Evidence-Based Innovation, will bring policymakers, researchers, and data experts from the public and private sectors together to strengthen the infrastructure and processes needed to support evidence-based decision making. Efforts will expand access to data to answer important questions while protecting privacy. They will also promote the rigorous evaluation of public programs, new government and philanthropic funding models that emphasize the use of evidence, and strategic partnerships to accelerate progress.

In her new role at LJAF, Ms. Stack will build on the work of her distinguished career at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She served under five presidents and was responsible for overseeing critical issues for a number of departments and major human services programs. While at OMB, Ms. Stack helped federal agencies design innovative funding mechanisms based on evidence and evaluation.

The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy will also be moving to the Arnold Foundation, where Baron will be its new Vice President of Evidence-Based Policy. The changes are further explained in a note sent to the Coalition’s Board of Advisors. According to the statement:

The Coalition’s operations will be integrated into the Foundation, where our team will build on and expand our core activities, including working with policy officials to advance evidence-based reforms in government social spending, and conducting expert reviews of the evaluation literature to identify programs with credible evidence of effectiveness. The Coalition itself will cease to exist as an independent organization on or around April 30.

The creation of the new Washington office follows significant recent investments by the Arnold Foundation in pay-for-success efforts across the nation, including an $8.4 million grant to the Urban Institute last month.

The move drew immediate support from the White House. “The Obama administration has doubled down on efforts to advance the use of rigorous evidence to drive smart policy decisions and to scale what works,” said David Wilkinson, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation.

“We are enthusiastic about the potential of this new LJAF office in Washington—and its distinguished leadership—to advance knowledge of what works and to give policymakers the tools they need to move the needle on our most pressing social challenges.”


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